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As it happened: Supreme Court sets aside triple talaq, terms it void and unconstitutional

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice JS Khehar had reserved its verdict on May 18 after a six-day marathon hearing on triple talaq case during the summer vacation.

Edited by: India TV News Desk, New Delhi [ Updated: August 22, 2017 14:20 IST ]
Supreme Court today struck down the practice of triple talaq
Supreme Court today struck down the practice of triple talaq

The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down the practice of ‘triple talaq’ among Muslim community and held the practice unconstitutional. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar gave its majority verdict by 3-2. While CJI JS Khehar and Abdul Nazeer put the onus on the Parliament to form a law against the practice justices Kurian Joseph, RF Nariman and UU Lalit held it unconstitutional. The Muslim women, who had filed the petitions, have challenged the practice of ‘triple talaq’ in which the husband pronounces ‘talaq’ thrice in one go, sometimes even by phone or a text message, to get a divorce.

 Here are the highlights of SC verdict on triple talaq and people's reactions: 

2:17pm: We have to respect the judgement. It is going to be a great Herculean task to implement this on ground: Asaduddin Owaisi, AIMIM

1:49pm: We hail the judgement, it protects personal laws and at the same time deprecates the practice of triple talaq: Kapil Sibal

1:48pm: This verdict is historic, its not about anyone's win or loss. I welcome this on behalf of the party: Amit Shah, BJP

1:48pm: I can say with satisfaction this was the last case which I did before I decided to quit: Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi

1:47pm: Judgment of the Hon'ble SC on Triple Talaq is historic. It grants equality to Muslim women and is a powerful measure for women empowerment: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

12:33am: I welcome this verdict. This is a historic day for Muslim women. The condition of Muslim women should be understood and a legislation should be formed soon: Shayara Bano, Triple talaq victim and petitioner

12:31am: Have respected SC's judgements in past, today's judgement on #TripleTalaq will also be considered by us: Zafaryab Jilani, AIMPLB

12:30am: What will happen to those Muslim women who even after judgement will accept 'Talaq', all issues have to be addressed: Zafaryab Jilani, AIMPLB

12:30am: It is a good judgement and another step towards gender justice and gender equality: Maneka Gandhi, Union Minister

12:29am: What we hoped to happen has now happened, it is a good decision: Salman Khurshid 

11:45am: Welcome this verdict, this will empower Indian women: Priyanka Chaturvedi, Congress spokesperson

11:30am: Justice Nariman said triple talaq is a part of 1934 act, should always be tested on constitutionality and said it is unconstitutional: Saif Mehmood, Lawyer

11:30am: Justice Kurien said that triple talaq is not an essential part of Islam and enjoys no protection of Article 25, set it aside: Saif Mehmood, Lawyer

11:30am: CJI said matters of personal law cannot be touched by a constitutional court law or constitutionality cannot be tested: Saif Mehmood, Lawyer

11:26am: Muslim Personal Law calls a meeting of executive body on September 10 in Bhopal: Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali

11:24am: I congratulate Muslim women on this verdict: BJP spokesperson Shazia Ilmi 

11:16am: Chief Justice Khehar and Justice Nazeer held that triple talaq cannot be struck down on the ground of being violative of Article 14, since there is no state action, directed the Central government to frame law

11:14am: Justices Nariman and Lalit held that Triple Talaq is unconstitutional and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

11:14am: Justice Joseph struck down the practice on the ground that it goes against Shariat and the basic tenets of the Quran. 

11:04am: Justice Kurian Joseph, RF Nariman, UU Lalit strike down Triple Talaq; CJI Khehar and Abdul Nazeer leave it to Parliament.

11:02am: Final verdict is that triple talaq is set aside

11:01am: Justice Nariman, Lalit and Kurien say triple talaq is unconstitutional, oppose view of Justice Nazir and CJI Khehar

10:57am: By putting the onus on Parliament, SC itself has made the issue political: Shazia Ilmi on India TV 

10:55am: Supreme Court lost a historic chance to help Muslim women, says BJP spokesperson Shazia Ilmi 

10:55am: SC expresses hope the Centre's legislation will take into account concerns of Muslim bodies and Sharia law. 

10:55am: CJI JS Khehar said Talaq-e-biddat is an integral part of Sunni community practiced since 1000 years

10:54am: CJI Khehar said that all parties must decide keeping politics aside.

10:50am: Triple talaq will not be in operation for six months, says CJI

10:49am: CJI J S Khehar said that Talaq-e-biddat is not in violation of articles 14,15,21 and 25 of the constitution

10:45am: CJI asks political leaders to help the government in form a legsialtion in Parliament 

10:44am: CJI asks Muslim religious leaders to spread awareness against triple talaq

10:43am: Triple talaq is an integral part of Muslim Personal Law, says Supreme Court 

10:42am: Supreme Court puts onus on Parliament to form a law against it

10:41am: Triple talaq to stay, says Supreme Court 

10:35am: Supreme Court begins pronouncing judgment in triple talaq case

10:35am: Who opposed Hindu Succession Act, 1956, Hindu Marriage Act, 1955? They were from Hindu Mahasabha: Meem Afzal, Congress

10:28am: It is a big day, let us see what the judgement: Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi

09.30amor.com/live/indiatv.html} - The court will start delivering  its judgments at 10:30 am.

08.30am -  I feel the judgment will be in my favour. Time has changed & a law will certainly be made: Shayara Bano

08.00am - “It is not just about my sister. It is about all my sisters across the country, it is about future generations, ” says the brother of Shayara Bano, the lead petitioner in this case. 

07:55am - Triple Talaq is inhuman, unconstitutional, unIslamic. Hoping SC will outlaw this today, also ban similar anti women acts in all religions: Yogendra Yadav

07:30am – Stage set for Supreme Court’s final verdict on Triple Talaq case

The bench, made up of judges from different religious communities had heard seven pleas, including five separate petitions filed by Muslim women challenging the prevalent practice of ‘triple talaq’ in the community. The lead petition is by one Shayara Bano.  The matter also involves a suo-moto case initiated by the Supreme Court in this regard.

The petitioners had claimed that the practice of ‘triple talaq’ was unconstitutional.

The Muslim women, who had filed the petitions, have challenged the practice of ‘triple talaq’ in which the husband pronounces ‘talaq’ thrice in one go, sometimes even by phone or a text message, to get a divorce.

36-year-old Shayara Bano was handed over a talaqnama (divorce) through post by her husband while she was with her parents at their home in Kashipur, Uttarakhand.

“It is not just about my sister. It is about all my sisters across the country, it is about future generations,” her brother Arshad Ali told The Indian Express.

Similarly, the husband of 30-year-old Ishrat Jahan, another petitioner in this case, was given talaq three times over phone by her husband who allegedly took away her four children, leaving her at the mercy of her extended family in Howrah.

During the hearing, the apex court had observed that the practice of ‘triple talaq’ was the “worst” and “not a desirable” form of dissolution of marriage among Muslims, even though there were schools of thought which called it “legal”.

Several lawyers including noted jurist Ram Jethmalani had attacked the practice on various constitutional grounds including the right to equality and termed it “abhorrent”.

It was argued that triple talaq was a discrimination on the ground of sex and this practice was abhorrent to the tenets of holy Quran and no amount of advocacy can save this “sinful” practice which is contrary to constitutional tenets.

The Centre had told the bench that it will come out with a law to regulate marriage and divorce among Muslims if ‘triple talaq’ is held invalid and unconstitutional by the apex court.

The government had termed all the three forms of divorce among the Muslim community—talaq-e-biddat, talaq hasan and talaq ahsan, as “unilateral” and “extra-judicial”.

It had said that all personal laws must be in confirmity with the Constitution and rights of marriage, divorce, property and succession has to be treated in the same class and has to be in conformity with the Constitution.

The Centre had said ‘triple talaq’ is neither integral to Islam, nor a “majority versus minority” issue but rather an “intra-community tussle” between Muslim men and deprived women.

However, the court was not appreciative of the government position that the top court should first pronounce on the constitutional validity of the triple talaq and other forms of talaq, only then it would bring a law.

"We may or may not (decide the issue), but you do," Chief Justice Khehar had said when the Central government told the court that it should step in a situation where there is no legislation.

The apex court had said it was keeping open for adjudication in the future the issues of polygamy and ‘nikah halala’ among Muslims as the Centre had insisted deliberations on these aspects as well.

However, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), had equated the issue of ‘triple talaq’ with the belief that Lord Rama was born in Ayodhya and these were matters of faith which cannot be tested on grounds of constitutional morality.

He had argued that triple talaq has been there since 637 AD and cannot be termed as un-Islamic as Muslims have been practising it for last 1,400 years.

Sibal had said that either Parliament can enact a law or it should be left to the community itself to deal and the court should not interfere on the issue.

Senior counsel Salman Khurshid, who was assisting the court in the matter, had said that "What was sinful in theology, can't be good in law".

"It (triple talaq) is not only not an essential part of Muslim religion, it is not a part of religion at all. On the contrary it is depreciated by Islam," he said.

The apex court during the hearing had asked the AIMPLB whether a woman can be given an option of saying ‘no’ to triple talaq at the time of execution of ‘nikahnama’ (marriage contract).

It had asked Muslim bodies how a practice like triple talaq could be a matter of “faith” when they have been asserting that it is “patriarchal”, “bad in theology” and “sinful”.

In last week of April, Allahabad High Court had termed the practice of triple talaq as ‘unilateral’ and ‘bad in law’.The court made the observations while dismissing a petition filed by one Aaqil Jamil whose wife had filed a criminal complaint against him alleging that he had tortured her for dowry and when his demands were not met, he gave her triple talaq. 

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